I suggested last week that I had a thought. It is scary when things pop into my head because I never know just what likely will enter that cavernous space. So if you can follow this explanation about what I have in mind, then you can let me know just what you think about the idea.
When I was in high school, I played all four sports that were offered to me. That meant cross country (seriously) in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball, as well as track, in the spring. I ran cross country because it was available. I never did achieve that runner's high that people talk about. It was a sport and I was an athlete. Enough said.
I enjoyed track though I was a bit of an oddity. Yeah, I know. The word odd does seem to fit. I ran distance events and threw the discus, which is not exactly common. There's no doubt, however, that it was basketball and baseball that I enjoyed the most. When people asked me which sport was my favorite, my response was it depended on the season. During the summer, many days involved playing both sports. That has something to do with my proposal.
Now my two sports are golf and bowling. Even at my age I really look forward to both sports and when I can participate in both of them on the same day - well, it doesn't get any better. Perhaps it reminds me of my childhood. Maybe I like to think of myself as a two-sport athlete. Whatever the case, I really enjoy playing both sports on the same day.
So the other day, I was thinking about the two sports seasons overlapping. I also was thinking about the number of friends that I have that play both sports. Why, I reasoned, don't I offer up a day for people to do both? If I enjoy it so much, won't others?
As I was driving back from Louisville, Ky., these thoughts invaded my head. If people are going to play both sports, a name would be needed for the festivities. I have had experience making up words and phrases and one particular phrase came back to me.
Many years ago, while teaching sociology to New Riegel High School students, I coined a phrase I suggested might help kids deal with situations where they did not see eye-to-eye with someone. Whether the issue was between parents and children, employee and boss, two friends or even total strangers - my phrase was a way to help solve the problem.
I suggested that my students use the term "peripheral shoes" when faced with an unhappy situation. I would be disappointed if many of my former students did not recall the phrase. The peripheral part refers to looking at all sides of the disagreement. We have a tendency to look at things from our own perspective. We frequently have tunnel vision. There always is more than one side to every story and I suggested the kids try to see things from all angles.
As for the shoes, I told them to try to put themselves in the other person's shoes. Try to understand what the other person is thinking. Using this phrase, I suggested, might make dealing with the situation a little easier.
So having a background in making up words, I spent some time coming up with a term for golfing and bowling in the same day. So here it is folks, from a slightly skewered mind. The term would be "gobowlfing."
Continuing down the highway, I thought about how much fun it would be to have a bunch of people gobowlfing. Then I wondered if we could turn this into a charity event. If enough people participated, money could be raised for a good cause. I considered what charity I would like to see helped and one word kept coming back to me. The word was cancer.
Perhaps that was because of a day in Florida a few weeks ago. My wife and I went to a restaurant in Siesta Key called the Broken Egg. I told her Dick Vitale talked about the place. We were close so we decided to see for ourselves what it had to offer. What we weren't expecting though, was to see Dick Vitale.
The man was in the house, and took to the microphone asking people to buy tickets for a car raffle or to purchase one of his books. He would sign autographs and pose for pictures with all proceeds going to the Jimmy V Foundation to fight cancer. Vitale gave an impassioned speech that included a story about he and his wife visiting a hospital for children with cancer. When he told the crowd that after leaving the hospital he and his wife went to their car and wept, we all felt like doing the same.
Maybe that's what made me think cancer research would be a great cause. Then again, maybe it was the fact that we all know someone that has had to deal with the deadly disease. I thought of relatives, friends and former students that have had to deal with cancer, some beating it and others not being so fortunate.
The names came to me quickly. Sandy, Janice, Larry, Bobby and Carrie who battled cancer and Dave and Tim who are dealing with it now. The thought occurred to me that it would be great to put on our bowling and golf shoes to try to get rid of another pair of shoes - those worn by cancer patients.
I guess I've rambled on enough. The proposal is now out there. Perhaps a Saturday in September. We gobowlfing and raise money to try to help eradicate cancer. Now I need to hear from you.
If you think the proposal is a good one and you would like to participate all you have to do is let me know. Call me, send me an email or even right a letter to the editor. Whatever means you want to use. You can even engage a carrier pigeon. However, I would ask that you not use Bullseye, the Wonder Pigeon, particularly if I've just washed my car!
Read my blog online as I have made the proposal there as well. Tell me what you think. If the response is good, I will get the ball (golf and bowling) rolling. I have a lot of thoughts on this endeavor and I will share them if the interest is there. For example, I thought about making this a triathlon of sorts, but I didn't know if taking a nap in between constituted a sport!
Gobowlfing for fun and a cause! What do you think?
Al Stephenson is The A-T's golf and bowling columnist.
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